Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Casa Costello has a new home

Hi there! Just to let you know Aardvark Cakes has moved - I have merged my 2 blogs to make one Family and Cake blog over at

I would love it if you would follow me over there! Thanks so much for reading and all your lovely comments while I have been here.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Tutorial - How to make an Edible Gruffalo

Earlier this week I posted a picture of my Gruffalo Cake and the response was incredible. I had many a discussion on Twitter about people making cakes for their children's birthdays and decided to post some tutorials of popular ideas for children's cakes.

The first being a Creme Egg Gruffalo: My cake had to travel from St Helens to Leeds and I knew the Gruffalo was not going to be eaten so was safe to insert a cocktail stick to keep the head on - normally I would use a piece of pasta to stick the head onto or even just make it a few days in advance so the head will just stick. I used sugar glue to stick everything together - make your own or just use cooled boiled water.

I used Chocolate Flavoured Fondant Icing. Roll out a piece of fondant, paint the creme egg with sugar glue and cover with the fondant. Make the seam at the back and smooth down the joint with your finger. Mark the 'body' with either a veining tool or a knife. Attach a small ball of icing for the neck. At this point insert the cocktail stick/pasta if you are using one.

Next get a ball on fondant slightly smaller than the body and roll the ends until it is an oval shape. Cut a mouth and open it - the gruffulo has a BIG mouth! Make the same marks for fur as on the body and make 2 holes for eyes - I use the end of a small pointy rolling pin (if you haven't got one, you could use the end of a clean paintbrush)

Stick the head on top of the body. Get 2 small balls of orange fondant icing - make one end of each pointy and stick into the eye sockets. You shouldn't need glue for this but if you do only use a tiny bit. Add a tiny black dot of icing to each orange eye.
Make 2 small sausages of brown for ears and attach to each side of the head. Put a tiny bit of pink icing over the front of each ear. Roll little grey sausages for teeth and attach some to the top lip and some to the bottom lip. 2 slightly larger grey sausages, pointy at one end make the horns on top of the head. A thin sausage of brown icing makes the nose with a small pale pink ball. He also needs a teeny weeny ball of green on top of the pink ball for the wart on his nose. He also needs 2 VERY thin black sausages for his eyebrows.

Make his legs and feet all-in-one with a long sausage folded just past the middle for his foot. Flatten down the foot bit and try to make some more markings again for his fur on the legs. The legs and feet will help him keep upright. 2 more brown sausages for his arms - cut into fingers at the end and try to round off the edges (back of a knife will do this) and attach to the body.

Tiny grey sausages made really pointy at the ends are attached to his hands and feet for claws. Loads of spikes are then attached to his back (the ones in the book were brown so I did them brown but my 4yo is convinced they should be purple - its up to you!)

And he's done and so is my first tutorial. How was it? I think The Gruffalo is quite a hard cake topper to do so maybe next time I'll go for something a little easier - any requests?

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Could you be paid a visit by the Fairy Hobmother?

I have had a visitor... A very welcome visitor ... The Fairy Hobmother. There is a secret person hopping from blog to blog leaving presents as he goes.

There are rumours that the Fairy Hobmother lives at Appliances Online - Pay them a visit to see what they offer. They are very friendly people!

All I had to do is leave a comment on Sonia from Mummy Loves blog and I was showered with a gift. If you leave a comment here you could be a winner too. I was lucky enough to receive Amazon vouchers which I will have great fun spending - I wonder what you could win? You might even like to leave a hint with your comment what you could do with?! Give it a go!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Book Review - Annabel Karmel - Annabel's Kitchen

I was lucky enough to be sent the new Annabel Karmel cookery book recently which accompanies her new's ITV children's cookery series. I already own a couple of Annabel's books so was eager to test out her new recipes. I have no idea how she does it, but her recipes make my children want to eat their meals - Annabel's Pot Noodle is a real favourite in our house!

As soon as the book arrived my 8 year old grabbed it exclaiming that she had seen adverts for the show and it looked really good. She wanted to look through the book and see which recipes we could cook - we will still be working our way through them at Christmas - there are loads!

I chose 2 of the recipes to test: Chicken Burgers and Breakfast Pancakes.

Both of the recipes are well explained, use easily accessible ingredients and have lovely pictures to accompany them (I wish I looked half as glamorous as Annabel when I cook!)

The breakfast pancakes did not have a strong taste but we topped our with ice-cream and raspberry sauce and they were just lovely.

The chicken burgers were gorgeous! I have never made my own burgers before and I thought starting with a children's recipe was a good place to start. They were really tasty and suitable for both adults and children. A definite make-again!

This book also contributes toward reaching my goal of owning and using 200 cooking/baking books before I'm 40 - see the rest of the list here

This is not a sponsored post - I did not receive any payment for this review but enjoyed using the book very much - Thank you!
Annabel’s Kitchen by Annabel Karmel (Ebury) £12.99

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Hotel Chocolat Review

It has been a while since I did any product reviews on this particular blog, but when I got invited to review Easter Gifts from Hotel Chocolat - I nearly bit their hand off - who wouldn't?

When the chocolate arrived, I was so tempted to nibble all to myself but being the good mummy/wife that I am, I saved it until we were all together.

My package was The Easter Pick Me Up Gift Set which can be bought from the Hotel Chocolat website for £11.00 - This is slightly more than I would normally pay for an Easter Gift but when we tasted the chocolate we all agreed that it was top quality. The Gift Set contains a Doodle Chick set - which is 2 milk chocolate slabs (one with a caramel chocolate chick), Caramel Egglets - which are 6 milk and white chocolate Eggs with really gooey, liquidy caramel inside and a Tiddly Pot - which contains 10 chocolate chicks and bunnies.

So what did we think?
The Tiddly Pot was the favourite of my girls (aged 4 & 8) and we were pleasantly suprised how much chocolate could be squeezed into such a diddy pot.
The Caramel Egglets were very rich and filling - these were perhaps more suited to adults - but that's ok! ;-)
The Doodle Chick slabs were great for a handbag snack and very yummy too!

The Hotel Chocolat website is great for drooling over and if you want to send someone a special treat, there is plenty of choice.
If you are after a slightly cheaper Easter Child's gift, I would highly recommend the Tiddly Pot which you can buy here with an egg for £7.

This is a review - I was not paid for doing this review but enjoyed my free sample very much. Thank you!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Baby Girl Christening

Going through some archived pictures - This is a Christening Cake from 2010 for a couple whose wedding cake I made a couple of years ago. I have to admit this cake seemed to take forever as there were loads of little bits - The topper includes building blocks, a teddy and an abacus type of toy - The first tier houses a rattle and stacking rings - all essential items for a baby. LIttle Olivia is absolutely gorgeous and Mum has said she has ordered a glass presentation box to house the sugar Olivia in - praise indeed.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

A whole new meaning to Cup Cake!

I know I have said it a million times but I love this cake! One of my last cakes before going on maternity leave for a good chunk of 2011 (don't worry I still have loads of cakes to post and I'm sure the cakes my family get me doing are more than enough blog fodder!)

This cake is for the lady who was retiring from her job in Marks & Spencer as the bra-fitting expert. She was really nervous about the party that was being held for her as she had never had a party solely in her honour before. When we dropped the cake off, the room looked fabulous and it was lovely to see everyone getting stuck in helping her decorate it. I was talking to my sister-in-law's Mother-in-law (work that out if you can!) last night and she said she happened to be at the party and that everyone was talking about how fabulous the cake was (and she didn't even know it was one of mine) and that the party was a huge success.

Both tiers were vanilla sponge and the M&S label and the bra were edible with the addition of a couple of diamontes - because everyone's underwear should have bling. The only brief (get it?) I had was to to include a tape measure which was great as I had bought the tape measure ribbon years ago and was desperate for an excuse to use it...only one problem, I couldn't find the blasted thing for a week and a half! Luckily it turned up exactly where I thought it was going to be the day before the cake was due!